Friday, October 21, 2016

Yesternight by Cat Winters {review}

by Cat Winters
♦publisher: William Morrow Books
♦release date: October 4th, 2016
♦paperback, 400 pages
♦intended audience: Adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review

In 1925, Alice Lind steps off a train in the rain-soaked coastal hamlet of Gordon Bay, Oregon. There, she expects to do nothing more difficult than administer IQ tests to a group of rural schoolchildren. A trained psychologist, Alice believes mysteries of the mind can be unlocked scientifically, but now her views are about to be challenged by one curious child.

Seven-year-old Janie O’Daire is a mathematical genius, which is surprising. But what is disturbing are the stories she tells: that her name was once Violet, she grew up in Kansas decades earlier, and she drowned at age nineteen. Alice delves into these stories, at first believing they’re no more than the product of the girl’s vast imagination.  But, slowly, Alice comes to the realization that Janie might indeed be telling a strange truth.

Alice knows the investigation may endanger her already shaky professional reputation, and as a woman in a field dominated by men she has no room for mistakes. But she is unprepared for the ways it will illuminate terrifying mysteries within her own past, and in the process, irrevocably change her life.
Review: This book had three things going for it right off the bat: Cat Winters brilliant historical storytelling (I make no secret of the fact that this author is one of my absolute faves), a 1920 setting, and a subject matter that I have always, as long as I can remember, been fascinated with---past life memories in children.  And while there were one or two things that made this my least favorite of her stories so far, it definitely drew me in and enthralled me---I was not disappointed. 

Struggling psychologist, Alice Lind, is trying to prove herself in a male-dominated field. When she's brought into town to test the children of Gordon Bay, she's introduced to Janie, whose father is convinced she is having past life memories. I love that she sticks to her psychological thinking and insists on ruling out every possibility rather than just buying into it right away. I love how the evidence and arguments for all possibilities is taken into consideration as the story slowly unfolds, coming clear in shocking little spine-tingling moments, and things get harder and harder to deny. And I thought it was interesting that we get to see her internal struggle with her own strange childhood and how it might parallel what she is seeing in Janie, and also her coming to terms with how a case like this could effect her professional standing.  The whole unraveling of the mystery of Janie was fanastic and I love how it resolved---and I might have actually liked this more if it had ended with that.

The last part of this story took a strange turn and focused solely on Alice's past and her own possible past life. It started off good, with some scary discoveries coming to light. But as it went on, it sort of lost me. While I love a good creepy twist, this one, I couldn't help but feel was a little out of place and out of character for the Alice we'd gotten to know through the whole rest of the book. There was sexual content that seemed a little forced in, and yet another twist at the end, that was creepy and shocking in an entertaining way, but also in a way that was just a little too convenient.

Still incredibly gripping and entertaining, and while, like I said, it's definitely my least favorite of Cat Winters books so far,  I really enjoyed this one despite a few quirks. 


photo credit: Tara Kelly
Cat Winters is an award-winning, critically acclaimed author of YA and adult fiction that blends history with the supernatural. Her young adult works include In the Shadow of BlackbirdsThe Cure for DreamingThe Steep and Thorny Way, and the forthcoming Odd & True (Fall 2017). Her adult novels are The Uninvited and Yesternight. She has been named a Morris Award finalist, a Bram Stoker Award nominee, and an Oregon Spirit Book Award winner, and her books have appeared on numerous state and “best of” lists. 

Winters was born and raised in Southern California, near Disneyland, which may explain her love of haunted mansions, bygone eras, and fantasylands. She received degrees in drama and English from the University of California, Irvine, and formerly worked in publishing. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two kids.


Purchase Yesternight: Indiebound  • BookDepository  •  Amazon  


Post a Comment